Wayne State University
Brad R. Roth
Brad R. Roth
Professor of Law
Room 3371 (Law), 2055 FAB (Political Science)
(313) 993-6983


LL.M., Columbia University School of Law
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., Swarthmore College


Professor Roth holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science. He specializes in international law, comparative public law, and political and legal theory. His courses include International Law, International Protection of Human Rights, International Prosecution of State Actors, U.S. Foreign Relations Law,  and Political Theory of Public Law.  Before entering academia, he practiced law and served as law clerk to the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  He is the author of Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 2011), Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), contributing co-editor (with Gregory H. Fox) of Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and author of roughly 30 book chapters, journal articles and commentaries dealing with questions of sovereignty, constitutionalism, human rights and democracy.

Courses Taught

International Law
International Human Rights
International Prosecution of State Actors
Political Theory of Public Law
U.S. Foreign Relations Law


Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement
Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press) 2011

According to Oxford University Press, "in Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement: Premises of a Pluralist International Legal Order, Professor Brad R. Roth provides readers with a working knowledge of the various applications of sovereign equality in international law, and defends the principle of sovereign equality as a morally sound response to disagreements in the international realm."

Click here for more information.
Democratic Governance and International Law
Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press) 2000 Editor

From Amazon.com: "This book considers how the post-Cold War democratic revolution has affected international law. Traditionally, international law said little about the way in which governments were chosen. In the 1990s, however, international law has been deployed to encourage transitions to democracy, and to justify the armed expulsion of military juntas that overthrow elected regimes. In this volume, leading international legal scholars assess this change in international law and ask whether a commitment to democracy is consistent with the structure and rules of the international legal system."

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Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law
Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press) 1999

According to Amazon.com: "This work seeks to specify the international law of collective non-recognition of governments, so as to enable legal evaluation of cases in which competing factions assert governmental authority. It subjects the recognition controversies of the United Nations era to a systematic examination, informed by theoretical and comparative perspectives on governmental legitimacy."

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Selected Publications

"A Bolivarian Alternative? The New Latin American Populism Confronts the Global Order" (with Sharon F. Lean), in International Law and its Discontents: Confronting Crises, ed. Barbara Stark (Cambridge University Press, 2015). 

"Reconceptualizing Recognition of States and Governments," in Recognition in International Relations: Rethinking a Political Concept in a Global Context, eds. Christopher Daase, Caroline Fehl, Anna Geis, Georgios Kolliarakis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Whither Democratic Legitimism? Contextualizing Recent Developments in the Recognition and Non-Recognition of Governments,” AJIL Unbound (Blog of the American Journal of International Law), Jan. 21, 2015.

Parsing “Mutual Non-Recognition and Mutual Non-Denial": An International Law Perspective on Taipei’s Current Framework for Cross-Strait Relations, Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law & Affairs 30:15 (2012).

Secessions, Coups, and the International Rule of Law: Assessing the Decline of the Effective Control Doctrine, Melbourne Journal of International Law 11:393-440 (2010). 

Coming to Terms with Ruthlessness: Sovereign Equality, Global Pluralism, and the Limits of International Criminal Justice, Santa Clara Journal of International Law 8:231-88 (2010).

The Entity That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Unrecognized Taiwan as a Right-Bearer in the International Legal Order, East Asia Law Review (University of Pennsylvania Law School) 4:91-124 (2009).
– Published in Chinese translation, Taiwan Law Review (Taipei: Angle Publishing), (No. 158) 2008.7:84-103.

Republications of 2004 Leiden Journal of International Law article, Retrieving Marx for the Human Rights Project:

– Revised version: "Marxian Insights on the Human Rights Project," in Susan Marks, ed., International Law on the Left:  Revisiting Marxist Legacies (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 220-51.

– Original version, in Susan Easton, ed., Marx and Law (Philosophers and Law Series), (London: Ashgate Pub. Ltd.,2008), pp. 265-302.

"State Sovereignty, International Legality, and Moral Disagreement," in Tomer Broude & Yuval Shany, eds., The Shifting Allocation of Authority in International Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing Co., 2008), pp. 123-61.

Just Short of Torture: Abusive Treatment and the Limits of International Criminal Justice, Journal of International Criminal Justice (Oxford University Press) 6:215-39 (2008).

“Coercion and the Quest for Substantive Freedom,” in Mary Garrett, Heidi Gottfried, & Sandra F. VanBurkleo, eds, Remapping the Humanities: Identity, Community, Memory, (Post)Modernity (Wayne State University Press, 2008), pp. 237-54.

“Taiwan’s Nation-Building and Beijing’s Anti-Secession Law: An International Law Perspective,” in Chen Chi-sen et al., ed., Sovereignty, Constitution, and the Future of Taiwan (Taiwan Law Society, 2006), pp. 1-59.

The Enduring Significance of State Sovereignty, Florida Law Review 56:1017-50 (2004).

Retrospective Justice or Retroactive Standards? Human Rights as a Sword in the East German Leaders Case, Wayne Law Review 50:37-68 (2004).

Retrieving Marx for the Human Rights Project, Leiden Journal of International Law 17:31-66 (2004).

“What’s Left?  Socialist Political Thought After the Fall,” in Thomas Newlin & Sibelan Forrester, eds., Towards a Classless Society:  Literature, History, and Politics: A Festschrift for Thompson Bradley (Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica (Indiana University) Press, 2004), pp. 195-211.

International Decisions: Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain; United States v. Alvarez-Machain, American Journal of International Law 98:798-804 (2004).
Anti-Sovereigntism, Liberal Messianism, and Excesses in the Drive against Impunity, Finnish Yearbook of International Law 12:17-45 (2001 volume, published 2003).

“Bending the Law, Breaking It, or Developing It?  The United States and the Humanitarian Use of Force in the Post-Cold War Era,” in Michael Byers & Georg Nolte, eds., United States Hegemony and the Foundations of the International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 232-63.

The CEDAW as a Collective Approach to Women’s Rights, Michigan Journal of International Law 24:187-225 (2002).

Understanding the ‘Understanding’:  Federalism Constraints on Human Rights Implementation, Wayne Law Review 47:891-907 (2002).

(with Gregory H. Fox) Democracy and International Law, Review of International Studies 27:327-352 (2001).

Peaceful Transition and Retrospective Justice: Some Reservations - A Response to Juan Mendez, Ethics & International Affairs 15:45-50 (2001).

“The Illegality of ‘Pro-Democratic’ Invasion Pacts,” in Gregory H. Fox and Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 328-42.

Governmental Illegitimacy and Neo-Colonialism:  Response to Review by James Thuo Gathii, Michigan Law Review 98:2056-65 (2000).

(with Gregory H. Fox) "Introduction: The Spread of Liberal Democracy and Its Implications for International Law," in Gregory H. Fox and Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 1-22.

Democratic Intolerance:  Observations on Fox and Nolte, Harvard International Law Journal, 37:235-38 (1996), reprinted in Gregory H. Fox & Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press, 1999). Winner, 1999 American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit (“Best Work in a Specialized Area”)

“What Ever Happened to Sovereignty?  Reflections on International Law Methodology,” in Charlotte Ku & Thomas G. Weiss, eds., Understanding Global Governance (Academic Council on the United Nations System, 1998), pp. 69-100.

Evaluating Democratic Progress:  A Normative Theoretical Perspective, Ethics & International Affairs, 9:55-77 (1995), reprinted in  Gregory H. Fox & Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2000).  

Governmental Illegitimacy Revisited:  ‘Pro-Democratic’ Armed Intervention in the Post-Bipolar World, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, 3:481-513 (1993). 

Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe:  Alternatives to the Liberal Social Contract, Dickinson Journal of International Law, 11:283-324 (1993). 
The First Amendment in the Foreign Affairs Realm: ‘Domesticating’ the Restrictions on Citizen Participation
, Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, 2:255-91 (1993).


April 20, 2015
Brad R. Roth spoke at the University of Sheffield (U.K.), School of Law and Department of Politics on the topic of his 2011 book, Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement: Premises of a Pluralist International Legal Order. His lecture is available online.

March 24, 2015
Brad R. Roth was a panelist for a discussion on the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict held at WSU and sponsored by the departments of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Political Science; and History, as well as the WSU Ukrainian Studes Endowment Fund. 

March 20, 2015
Brad R. Roth presented "The Neglected Virtues of Bright Lines: International Law in the 2014 Ukraine Crises" at the University of Windsor (Canada) Department of Political Science and Transnational Law and Justice Network Conference, "From Maidan to Donbass: The Ukraine Crisis in the Context of Western-Russian Relations."

March 13, 2015
Brad R. Roth presented "The Limits of Civility" at the Wayne State University Center for the Study of Citizenship's national conference.

February 17, 2015
Brad R. Roth was elected to a four-year term on the Metro Detroit Branch Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union.

February 13, 2015
Brad R. Roth presented "Self-Determination, Secession, and External Intervention" at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law's Berkeley Law-German Law Journal Colloquium on the Crisis in Ukraine.

May 27, 2014
Brad R. Roth presented an article on legal aspects of the breakup of Yugoslavia at a meeting of Croatian scholars at the Political Science Faculty of the University of Zagreb on May 23. On May 22, he delivered a lecture on related topics at the University of Zadar in Croatia, and later in the month, he lectured on related topics at the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University (Netherlands).

April 26, 2014
Brad R. Roth is the author of Just Outcomes, Overreaching Rationales: How International Criminal Law's Achievements Augur Flawed Responses to Political Violence, which was published recently in 31 No. 1 Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law (2014).

April 12, 2014
Brad R. Roth , as one of three American Branch representatives on the International Law Association's research committee on recognition/non-recognition of states and governments, addressed the current Ukraine crisis in a presentation at the ILA's biennial meeting in Washington, D.C.  His continuing work on the formation and dissolution of states includes a forthcoming article on legal aspects of the breakup of Yugoslavia. A Croation language translation of the article will appear in the Croatian Political Science Review.

April 4, 2014
Brad R. Roth and Professors Gregory Fox and Paul Dubinsky prepared and presented "Treaties as Law of the Land? Change and Uncertainty in the Domestic Effects of International Agreements" during the April 4 Academic Symposium that was part of the two-day inauguration celebration for Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson.

February 21, 2014
Brad R. Roth is spending the Winter 2014 semester on research leave at the University of California at Berkeley as a visiting scholar in the Center for the Study of Law and Society. In Feburary, he gave a public lecture at Arizona State University Law School's Center for Law and Global Affairs on the topic of his 2011 Oxford University Press book, Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreeement.

February 12, 2014
Brad R. Roth presented the University of Houston-Victoria Provost's Lecture at the Texas school. He spoke on tactics used by the United States to fight the global war on terrorism during the past 12 years and questions raised about the nation's violations of international law. Roth's lecture was titled "Torture, Indefinite Detention and Targeted Killings: How the War on Terrorism Violates International Law."

June 3, 2013
Brad R. Roth led discussions and gave presentations at three different events last month in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. He presented "Parsing 'Mutual Non-Recognition and Mutual Non-Denial': An International Law Perspective on Taipei's Current Framework for Cross-Strait Relations" at the 2013 International Law Association-American Society of International Asia-Pacific Reserach Forum; led a discussion on Taiwan's status in international law at a Taiwan Thinktank forum; and also gave a talk on his critcally acclaimed book, "Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement: Premises of a Pluralist International Legal Order" (Oxford University Press, 2011), at National Taiwan University, with Professor Timothy Webster from Case Western Reserve University School of Law as a discussant.

February 21, 2012
Brad R. Roth published a new book last fall, Soverign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 2011), which has been getting much critical acclaim. It was recently reviewed in the New Republic by Michael Ignatieff, former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and senior resident with the University of Toronto's Massey College. http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/100040/sovereign-equality-moral-disagreement-government-roth

November 21, 2011
Brad R. Roth was interviewed by the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) about his recent book Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 2011). ACUNS posted a podcast of the interview. Professor Roth also gave talks in October to the law faculties of Carleton University in Ottawa and McGill University in Montreal, and in November participated in a workshop of contributors to a forthcoming Cambridge University Press volume on International Legal Positivism in a Post-Modern World.

May 19, 2011
Brad R. Roth gave a lecture on "Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement: Premises of a Pluralist International Legal Order" at Oxford University. Click here for the podcast.

In The News

March 11, 2015
Brad R. Roth was cited in Wall Street Journal article "What Is the Logan Act?"

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December 9, 2014
Brad R. Roth was quoted in a WWJ radio report on a Senate panel faulting the CIA over brutality and deceit in terrorism interrogations.

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March 17, 2014
Brad R. Roth was interviewed with two other panelists on The Craig Fahle Show on WDET-radio for a report titled "Crimean Vote Has 'No International Credibility Whatsoever.'"

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June 3, 2013
Brad R. Roth was quoted in an article in the Taipei Times (Taiwan) titled "Ma in ‘international legal suicide'."

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